Castle Park is situated adjacent to Colchester Town Centre and is the most important urban park in Colchester, serving the needs of an expanding local population and those visiting the adjacent town centre and cultural quarter, as well as visitors from across the UK and beyond. The park covers approximately 11 hectares and is estimated to receive over one million visitors per year.
Originally opened in 1892, Castle Park has a rich cultural heritage and is Grade II* Listed in the Historic Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Importance. The majority of the Upper Park is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, including the Roman Town Wall, Duncan’s Gate, and the Town Ditch. The park has received Keep Britain Tidy’s Green Flag Award every year since 2003, and also holds Green Heritage Site Accreditation. In 2018, idverde was delighted to receive a British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI) National Award for its excellent standards of grounds maintenance in the park.
idverde has been responsible for grounds maintenance in the park since April 2016 when the company was awarded Colchester Borough Council’s contract to provide grounds maintenance services throughout the borough for a seven-year period.
idverde employs a team of five gardeners and a cleansing operative at Castle Park, led by Head Gardener, Jon Wright. The team’s key horticultural responsibilities include maintenance of grass areas (including mowing over 70,500m2 of grass) and shrub borders, planting and maintaining 38,800 bedding plants, hanging basket maintenance, cutting and clearing wildflower areas, hedge cutting, and tree maintenance. Our teams also carry out litter picking, bin emptying, path sweeping, maintenance of the boating lake, toilet block cleansing, and locking and unlocking the park gates each day. The Head Gardener also liaises with Colchester’s Park Ranger team on a regular basis and is actively involved in engaging with stakeholders, including the Friends of Castle Park.
Castle Park is renowned for its seasonal flower displays, especially the elaborate annual three-dimensional bedding display which graces the park entrance each year. This display is co-sponsored and co-designed by idverde and Colchester Borough Council, with a new theme each year. 2017 saw a design commemorating Castle Park’s 125th Anniversary, which was nominated by RHS Britain in Bloom judges for the Parks and Green Spaces Award. 2018’s theme saw a floral 3D tank created to commemorate the centenary of the end of World War 1.
Other significant features in the park include the badge border, with an annual complimentary display to compliment the 3D bedding, a sensory garden, formal bedding in the Avignon and Imola Gardens, a rose garden, and the Bell Gardens (a focal point of remembrance for those involved in conflicts). In total, over 10,000 shrubs and herbaceous plants, 48,000 seasonal bedding plants, and 23,000 bulbs are planted throughout the park each year.
In order to aid environmental sustainability in its maintenance of the park, idverde sources peat-free bedding for use in its displays, while all green waste generated at the site is taken to Colchester’s composting site so that it may be reused at Castle Park or other sites within the borough.
Castle Park stages many of Colchester’s most significant outdoor events, with over 80 events being organised by charity groups and commercial operators each year, including performances of plays, films, and live music events. idverde’s team therefore has to work closely with our Colchester Borough Council client to plan extra cover for these events if needed, and to ensure the park is returned to the clean and tidy standard park visitors expect, as these events generate large visitor numbers and higher volumes of litter.
Colchester Borough Council’s vision for Castle Park is for the park to be the jewel in the crown of Colchester’s parks and open spaces, and to be the focus of civic pride. idverde is extremely proud to work in partnership with the Council to achieve this goal, and to ensure the park is maintained to an exemplary standard for the enjoyment of Colchester’s residents and visitors alike.